Lines Offered: BetOnline
Regular Season Record: Tied 2-2 SU and Brooklyn 3-1 ATS
Are Sixers And Joel Embiid Bluffing?
The word out of Philly is Joel Embiid is dealing with knee pain that is possibly tendinitis. While concerning for sure, the big man also sat out 14 of the Sixers’ final 24 regular season games after the All Star Break. We already know your knee is sore, Joel.
The NBA regular season is long and guys like Embiid who have dealt with leg and foot issues are always placed in a glass case any time a hint of an injury crops up. The Sixers and other teams with delicate super stars have begun to treat them like starting pitchers in baseball. If there is a hint of discomfort, they head straight for the IL (formally DL).
However, I’m not buying for one second that Embiid actually has a chance to miss games. He has played only 10 games in the last two months. In those 10 games, he looked just fine, averaging nearly 29 points and grabbing 14.3 rebounds per game.
As Vince McMahon’s famous music in the WWE says, there is “no chance in hell,’ that Embiid misses games in this series, barring he is actually hurt and not just sore. Philly backers shouldn’t be panicking just yet.
How Does Brooklyn Match Up?
Surprisingly, the Nets matchup quite well with the Sixers in a couple of key areas. Jarrett Allen and Ed Davis have been great defensively in the middle for the Nets this season and on the wing the Nets have a plethora of guys that can shoot the three and defend.
However, it all boils down the point guard matchup between D’Angelo Russell and Ben Simmons. Neither guy is capable of staying in front of the other. Russell put up 38 in a game against Philly back in November and Simmons has put up 20 or more twice against the Nets this season.
Whomever is winning that matchup will go a long way in deciding the winner. The problem for the Nets however, is if Russell isn’t winning his matchup with Simmons, there is not a lot of room for error in the Nets’ other matchups.
Embiid is going to get his regardless of who’s in front of him and Tobias Harris is going to be a huge mismatch for Brooklyn. Jared Dudley is going to get that work if he’s in the game and Rodions Kurucs is nowhere near big enough to guard Harris. As a rookie who looks like he may not even weigh 200 pounds yet, Kurucs might be a liability in that sense.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is available off the bench as well, but he has not been in the rotation for a while. If Harris is killing Brooklyn though, Atkinson may have to make a switch.
The one area I think the Nets have an advantage is on the wing. DeMarre Carroll is healthy and ready to go, which should help limit Jimmy Butler a little. Plus, Joe Harris is a younger and bigger J.J Redick, so I think it’s advantage Nets in that spot.
The Sharp Pick
In the end though, the Sixers are too big and better on both ends of the court for the Nets. As long as Embiid is healthy outside of having to battle through some soreness, I think the Sixers eventually win this series.
However, I do not think it will be easy. The odds of the Sixers winning in six or seven games are better in my opinion than them winning in five like some are suggesting.
If you can find exact odds on the Sixers winning in six games, I’d prefer that over just laying 7/1 on their regular series price.